Your dog has developed osteoarthritis (OA). Unfortunately, it is a lifelong condition. Your dog will need ongoing care. We use a logically designed path in determining the best care for your dog. This starts with conservative therapies, weight and activity management, and healthy supplements. As is appropriate, we always communicate with your veterinarian, to help with the suitable prescription of pharmaceuticals or even surgery, when needed.
We would like to see your dog early in the process of arthritis developing. Proper joint motion and function slows or prevents but doesn’t reverse arthritic changes.
These changes go by many names; osteoarthritis, joint degeneration, degenerative joint disease, spondylosis, intervertebral disc disease, cartilage thinning, calcification, osteophytosis, and spurring. Any joint can degenerate. It is often a larger problem when the spine is involved, that often will affect the nervous system, and your dog's nervous system controls every cell, tissue, and organ in his'/her's body. This most often shows up as a weak and wobbly rear end.
Most degenerative arthritis is from too much or too little motion. Changes include the thickness of the cartilage, decreased quality of the fluid inside the joint, increased inflammation, bony changes, decreased stem cell formation, increased concentration of enzymes which degrade cartilage, and a decrease in health promoting growth factors. All of the items below alter these negative changes
Complementary therapies - chiropractic and acupuncture which we do, massage therapy, physiotherapy, and bowen which we refer to other professional practitioners to provide.
Weight management - less weight decreases the physical strain on the joints.
Activity modification - shorter, more frequent walks tend to be easier on arthritic joints. Less running, avoiding stairs and jumping may be necessary. Arthritic dogs need more rest between spurts of activity.
Household management - a comfy bed, non-slip runners on wood floors, ramps into cars, a step up onto a couch. Non-interfering harnesses like a Haqihana, or an assistive harness like an Help’emup make their lives easier.
and from a store like Wholesome Canine or a health food store:
Golden paste/turmeric - a recent 6-week long study confirmed that turmeric decreased inflammation at least as well as ibuprofen.
Make your own, it keeps up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.
Boil 1/2 cup turmeric powder from a health food store
mixed with 1 cup water
⅓ cup cold pressed coconut oil
(optional) 2 teaspoons of black pepper
Caution - the paste stains.
small dogs ¼ teaspoon
medium sized dogs ½ teaspoon
large dogs ¾ teaspoon
Devils claw: consult with your vet as this can react with other pharmaceutical drugs. Do not use in pregnant, lactating, or diabetic dogs. Contains harpagoside, a potent analgesic and anti-inflammatory. Anecdotally more effective in dogs stiff after rest and in dogs stiffer in cold weather.
small dogs 250 mg
medium sized dogs 500 mg
giant dogs 1000 mg
Green lipped mussel extract - very high in natural omega 3 fatty acids and glucosamine sulfate, both good anti-inflammatories.
15 mg of powder per pound of you dogs body weight.
Slippery elm - available in capsule form, a very safe natural anti-inflammatory which also helps normalize intestinal actions.
¼ teaspoon per ten pounds of body weight, mix with water, or ideally bone broth.
CBD/marijuana oils - a low or no tetrahydrocannibinol formula in a controlled dose can be appropriate for dogs. Case study successes include anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anti-cancer, anti-anxiety, anti-seizure, and is an appetite stimulant.
Dosing depends on the product, and can be oral or topical.
Boswelia/frankincense - shown to decrease signs of pain in over 70% of dogs by limiting the production of leukotrienes which cause inflammation.
10 mg/pound of your dog’s body weight, always with food.
Capsicum/cayenne- blocks pain and improves circulation. May increase metabolism and heat production, so a better supplement in the colder months. May be used internally (capsules are available) or as a topical. Avoid the eyes! This will cause irritation if it accidentally is transferred to the eyes, anus, or genitals, May cause digestive upset in predisposed dogs.
Capsules are available in health food stores - assume the dosing of the capsules is for a 150 pound person and adjust for your pets weight.
Ginger - can thin blood, lower blood sugar and blood pressure - consult your veterinarian. Improves circulation and blocks inflammation by decreasing leukotriene production.
¼ to ¾ teaspoon of raw finely minced raw ginger with food. Can cause stomach problems, always give with food.
Yucca - ½ teaspoon of dried and ground yucca powder per pound of food every other day. Can cause digestive upset if given daily.
Licorice - similar in chemical structure to steroids, your dog can have the benefit without the immune suppression typical with steroids. Also great to support a female dog’s hormonal system after a spay.
Use a low-alcohol tincture, about ½ to 1 drop per pound of body weight.
Glucosamine sulfate - beef trachea, elk antler powder, cartilage, bone broth all ensure your dog has the building blocks for cartilage upkeep. Or a high quality powder.
Blueberries - high in the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory anthocyanins and flavonols. Add a few to your dog’s food. They are high in fibre and can cause loose stools, so start with just a few.
Mushrooms - chaga, cordyceps, and reishi are all reputed to be anti-inflammatory.
A Low Carbohydrate Diet - High levels of starches and carbohydrates increase chronic inflammation in the body.
Fish oils/Omega 3,6,9 fatty acids have been shown to modify the balance of the body away from inflammation.
Avoid Allergens - Allergens increase gut leakiness, which leads to more inflammation.
and through your regular veterinarian:
Pharmocological treatments - aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid), metacam (meloxicam), deramaxx (deracoxib), rimadyl (carprofen), opiates like tramadol, nervous system modifiers like gabapentin, and steroids, The non-steroidal anti-inflammatories are generally hard on the kidneys. The opiates and steroids tend to be hard on the liver. The steroids decrease your dogs immunity to infections and certain cancers. Despite the negative effects, some of the time these are the best choices.
Injectable joint supports - adequan is an injectable glucosamine, cartrophen is injectable pentosan polysulfate sodium, both of which alter inflammation.
Eastern philosophy veterinary medicine including acupuncture and herbology in Toronto is well represented by Dr. Rona Sherebryn.
Holistic veterinary care is best practiced at East York Animal Clinic by Drs. McCutcheon, Kneebone, and Chui. They can also be a location to buy holistic products.
Canine homeopathy is a key area of practice of Dr. Caroline Benson.